E-911 board moves on with agenda

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 29, 2008

LINDEN &8212; The Marengo County E-911 board has finally made some progress after months of meetings resulting in a failure to achieve a quorum, an issue that has plagued the board for several years.

According to Mike Carlisle, who is the chairman of the board after a vote from his peers, the three-hour meeting last week produced the first positive momentum since the board was repopulated in December by the Marengo County Commission.

When asked about his new position, Carlisle said he had &8220;mixed emotions&8221; about the responsibility, mainly because of controversy surrounding the board&8217;s past performance. Carlisle said he hopes upcoming meetings will be as productive as their most recent one.

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The board voted to give Steve Brooks of Synergem Emergency Services permission to seek bids for two crucial pieces of equipment: an ANI-ALI telecommunication system and a new mapping system to replace their current GeoComm mapping system.

The ANI-ALI system used by the Marengo County E-911 service is considered at phase I level, which means dispatchers can pinpoint the location of a caller if they call from a land telephone line, but not from a cell phone. With a new system, dispatchers would be able to pinpoint a physical location for a cell phone user to aid in locating them.

Another concern in recent months has been with the E-911 director, Lisa Mangum, who tendered a letter of resignation to the board to be effective April 15. Magnum said shortly after she submitted her letter, a meeting with the E-911 dispatchers showed no one was ready for Mangum to step down, a sentiment echoed by the board.

Since the board was unable to achieve a quorum, they were never able to accept or decline Mangum&8217;s request, but Mangum said she later withdrew the request with the intention of remaining on as director.

According to Mangum, her new goals for the department include getting more training for her staff, so they can be proficient in CPR and Emergency Medical Dispatch, or EMD, training. Mangum is certified to teach the courses, something that will ultimately save E-911 money in training costs.

Another goal is to have the board evaluate the pay scales for current employees. Mangum said the last time pay rates were reviewed, only beginning pay scales were increased. Some employees have been with Marengo County E-911 for three years with no increase in pay.

These concerns and others, such as updating standard operating procedures, securing a new addressing vehicle and doing a study on the effectiveness of dispatchers&8217; radio equipment will be addressed at the board&8217;s next meeting on June 17.